Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has said authorities in Australia "humiliated themselves" and Prime Minister Ana Brnabic called the decision to deport tennis player Novak Djokovic "scandalous."
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has lashed out at Australian authorities after a federal court ruled in favour of tennis star Novak Djokovic’s deportation on the eve of the Australian Open.
"They think that they have by this, this mistreatment of 10 days, humiliated Djokovic, but they have humiliated themselves, " Vucic told a state media outlet on Sunday morning.
"I spoke earlier to Novak Djokovic after the decision and I encouraged him. We look forward to seeing him return to his country, where he is always welcome," the president added.
Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic too denounced as "scandalous" Australia's decision to deport the World Number 1 player over his decision not to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
"I think the court decision is scandalous...I find it unbelievable that we have two completely contradictory court decisions within the span of just a few days," Brnabic told reporters in Belgrade.
"I am disappointed. I think it demonstrated how the rule of law is functioning or better to say not functioning in some other countries," he added.
'Farce is over'
Djokovic, 34, boarded an Emirates flight in Melbourne bound for Dubai on Sunday evening, according to reports, after saying in a brief statement that he was "extremely disappointed" by the court ruling.
The unanimous ruling by a three-judge bench rejecting Djokovic's appeal against the cancellation of his visa dealt a final blow to his hopes of chasing a record 21st Grand Slam win at the Australian Open.
Djokovic, who has won the Australian Open nine times, is tied with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal with 20 Grand Slam titles each.
The Serbian Tennis Association (TSS) said the "farce is over" and "politics has beaten sports".
"It begs the question whether athletes will from now on be incarcerated like criminals and deported when it suits the political interests of powerful individuals," the TSS said in a statement.
The Serbian Olympic Committee also made their disgust clear.
"Despite this scandalous decision, we believe Novak came out as the winner again," the committee said in a statement posted online.